JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As of Thursday, it remained unclear what might happen to the Confederate monument that sits in Springfield Park.
The Women of the Southern Confederacy Monument remains covered, but the tension surrounding it was uncovered during a Jacksonville City Council meeting Tuesday night, where the council voted to withdraw an ordinance to spend $1.3 million to remove it.
The statue was built as a tribute to the women of the Confederacy. For some, it represents part of Jacksonville’s history. For others, the statue is far from that and they say represents hate and oppression.
For the city council, it’s a problem. Mayor Lenny Curry supported the idea of spending the $1.3 million dollars to remove it, but after the council decided to withdraw the plan, it’s unclear what will happen next.
Councilman Aaron Bowman sent a letter to his colleagues, calling for a new plan.
“We didn’t talk about what we are going to do with the monument,” Bowman said.
He added that they did not address other monuments, such as a bandstand in the city cemetery.
“Let’s have a discussion, come up with a plan. Let’s find it and let’s get it behind us. We can’t just do nothing,” Bowman said.
One of the loudest and most persistent voices against the statue has been Ben Frazier of the Jacksonville Northside Coalition. He has led demonstrations and has been in the forefront, calling for community meetings, which he refers to as charrettes.
Frazier says the discussion should not just be at city council meetings. He wants all sides at the table. He says he is glad that the council is now starting to listen to his ideas.
“I think it’s imperative that we move beyond talking at each other and start talking with each other,” Fraizer said.
Seber Newsome III, a supporter of keeping the statue in place, says he agrees.
“I think we should do like Ben Frazier has suggested,” he said. “Let’s sit down and talk to each other not at each other. Let’s sit down and be civil. Everybody has their own opinion.
In a statement, Frazier has indicated that he does not support Newsome’s point of view. In the end, it will be up to the City Council to decide exactly what will hapen with the monument.